OPEN 2015
Golden, Colorado
Project Term:
04/22/2016 - 03/31/2021

Technology Description:

This project team, led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), will employ hydride vapor phase epitaxy (HVPE), a fast growth technique used to produce semiconductors, to lower the manufacturing cost of multijunction solar cells. Additionally the team will develop new materials to be used in the HVPE process, enabling a chemical liftoff method that allows reuse of substrates. The chemical liftoff will mitigate costs of substrates, further reducing the overall system cost. NREL’s approach will leverage this improved HVPE technology to produce thin, flexible, highly efficient multijunction cells, with very high power at low cost. III-V PV has several inherent advantages over other PV materials, including higher efficiency, low temperature coefficients, and low material usage. The novel combination of HVPE growth of multijunction solar cells and substrate reuse could result in more cost-effective, higher performing multijunction solar cells, which could ultimately lower the cost and increase the efficiency of PV systems. These innovations could spur greater adoption of PV systems and reduce reliance on fossil-fuel power generation.

Potential Impact:

If successful, the NREL project team will develop highly efficient PV cells that could enable greater utilization of emissions-free solar power.


Improved solar technologies can help diversify U.S. sources of power generation and reduce reliance on fossil-fuel based power.


The team’s highly efficient solar cells enable greater power conversion in PV systems without increasing the physical footprint of the systems. This could accelerate adoption of PV, which will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.


The team’s innovations could significantly decrease the cost of multijunction solar cells, which could improve the overall cost effectiveness of solar systems.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. James Zahler
Project Contact:
Dr. Aaron Ptak
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


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